A small company by the name of Toddy Gear out of Chicago has turned over a new leaf in the drab and boring world of screen hygiene. Once a lonely plane full of random cloths from glasses cleaning kits or scraps labeled as “bonuses” boxed in with your 60” TV, the company looked to expand the field by offering “a cleaning cloth in a variety of fashion-forward prints, redefining how people care for their electronics.” Somehow both the cloth for cleaning your LCD screens, and the stand for your mobile accessories have been curiously mashed together into one affordable, functional microfiber apparatus with a designer look in The Wedge. However, does that make it evolutionary? Or just a gimmick?
When you first look at the Wedge it is hard not to let the question, “That’s it?” spill out of your mouth. It is a pretty accurate statement to make. There really isn’t a whole lot to the Wedge. It is the shape of what is called a Dorito bunker in paintball, or a sort of rounded pyramid, with the addition of an extra flap attached to one side. It is covered with a slick microfiber cloth printed with a number of different designs on the three visible sides for polishing your device’s screen. The final side is made of a plush microfiber to be used in cleaning screens. It comes in at only 54.29 grams mostly due to its PVC plastic pellet filling, with maximum dimensions of 122.15mm x 101.61mm x 88.82mm. Your brain might start turning at this point wondering why this little bean bag item costs $15. Well, let me explain to you why.
Think about all of the things that you’ve used to clean off your phone, the times you wiped your glasses on your pants, and the film left on your monitor whenever you tried to use a commercial cleaner. Now think of the amount of money that you’ve spent on glass cleaner, anti-static wipes, paper towels, those stupid yellow microfiber rags from Costco, and Swiffers. Did any of those things actually work well? How many of them were reusable? How much dust, grease, streaks, and tiny yellow fibers did those things leave behind? That’s where the Wedge has the edge. With two different types of microfiber (which is a polyester/nylon blend), its sole job is to do cleaning well. No liquids are needed. No more springing for some sort of “specialized” cleaning products. Grab the Wedge and have all you need in your hand. It even has an antimicrobial coating on the fabric.
On top of its antimicrobial coating, the Wedge is also machine washable.* I actually tossed the Wedge into a warm wash with a few other common cleaning cloths or items that may otherwise be sitting on a desk; a T-shirt, a slick microfiber cloth, a plush microfiber cloth, a scrap piece of fleece, a polyester/spandex glove, and a mouse pad. Nothing seemed to appear frayed or coming apart on the Wedge unlike the slick cloth (some split edges and curling), the plush (some plucked fibers and curling), or the mouse pad (some fabric edges separated from rubber base). After leaving everything in the washer overnight to see how they fared air drying, I was surprised to see that the Wedge didn’t retain much water. Even after the spin cycle it was pretty dry (as was everything minus the mouse pad and T-shirt). Still since it wasn’t completely dry, I reluctantly threw everything in the dryer (with the exception of the mouse pad) on a high cotton heat for 20 minutes. Surprisingly the Wedge came through fine! No pellets fused together and the fabric still retained the feeling it had prior to being ran through the wash.
With that in mind, the Wedge is actually pretty well stitched together. All of the fabric layers are doubled, in a way that they are folded over each other to produce the curved edges that are then stitched together as walls. It creates a more durable scrubbing or wiping surface that can handle more abrasive surfaces than standard cloth. The stitching is well done, in what appears to be somewhere between a 2 or 3 length stitch (according to my Babylock). It does suffer from some wandering that was noticeable mostly along the retaining flap though. Due to the short stitch length, and seemingly strong thread selection, the stitches hold really well on the Wedge. It was tossed around my household numerous times, given to my rabbits to play with and chew on, thrown for my dog to retrieve, thrown against the wall, and attempted to juggle with. It was surprising how it held up given all the impacts and teeth that had been dug into it. The retaining lip offers a foam core (not unlike the foam to wrap pipes) to hold your devices in. It is both sturdy and resistant to soaking in liquid.
Toddy is constantly offering different cloth designs too. It is interesting to look through them as the cloth patterns for the Wedge can go from tame to vivid. Patterns range from seasonal inspirations, national pride, skin recreations, technology prints, nature cues, and all sorts of stripes and symbols. The pattern they sent for review is what they call the “Nomad.” To me it looks like the feathering of brush strokes in Photoshop. It is neat that they have blown up the pixel look in order to see the different levels of opacity and blending that would be created as if simulating a digital brush stroke. If you want to brand a Wedge for promotional purpose, Toddy will do that too. If you don’t care too much what your Wedge would look like, they offer a clearance section that still keeps the Wedge at $14.99, but adds a two for one promotion.
During cleaning the Wedge does a fantastic job in as little as two steps. To remove the bulk of the grime from your device, use the plush side and some effort to wipe away and soak up the gunk. Then switch sides to a smooth side of the Wedge to polish the screen. It is pretty easy. They even call it being “Toddy’d.” General dirt, oil smudges, fingerprints, make-up, sweat, and hair are wiped away with ease. There are some more troublesome things, like dried on food or liquids. Since the Wedge is only cloth, it isn’t made to clean up in some of these situations. It will soak up soda in a pinch (yes, I tried it), but it isn’t made to be used as a mop. Small dots of liquid here or there won’t hurt it, but eventually you’ll have to wash it. Obviously the Wedge isn’t all encompassing. However, if you catch some of these situations quicker with the Wedge handy you wouldn’t need to worry about it. I find that dotting the spot with a small drop of water and then using the Wedge’s plush cloth generally helps the problem.
If there was one thing the Wedge could do better though it would have to be holding devices. It does a great job working as a stand for whatever smartphone you might have. The trouble is when it comes to tablets. I couldn’t get a Kindle Fire HD, iPad 2, or first generation Nook to stand up very well. This is of course due to the compact triangle design. The Wedge would need to be taller and wider to be able to accommodate these devices. Set these devices on their side and the Wedge works just fine. I could get the Nook to stand straight with a little bit of shifting it around, and the iPad 2 required some balancing when horizontal, but it did work. I shouldn’t have to work to get them to sit on a stand though. The retaining lip does a good job of holding devices in, but some cases can start to overwhelm it if thick enough. It also covers the speaker on an iPhone when it is standing to where you almost can’t hear it.
So there you have it. A little thought and design with a dash of flair can do wonders for keeping your devices clean. While I must admit I didn’t think that the Wedge was going to amount to much, I’m glad that it did. Toddy has a great thing going with their Smart Cloths and the Wedge. Who knew that such a simple concept could combat an everyday problem with style? A $15 dollar price point isn’t much to squawk at considering how well the Wedge cleans screens and the fact that it is machine washable. I wholeheartedly recommend that you pick one up. The only problem you’re left with is figuring out which look complements you the best.